Bridging Levels of Analysis in Risk Perception Research: The Case of the Fear of Crime

  • Jonathan Jackson London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Nick Allum University of Surrey
  • George Gaskell London School of Economics and Political Science
Keywords: risk perception, fear of crime, narrative to risk, psychology of risk, social perception


This paper offers a theoretical treatise that bridges the social and the psychological in risk perception research. We first outline research into the psychology of risk. We then speculate on the idea that people develop a structured narrative to risk, which includes morality, trust, and the dense social meaning of a danger and its impact. From this vantage point, we are better placed to move from psychological analyses of risk perception to the sort of analysis of culture that Mary DOUGLAS provides. Throughout the article we lean on crime as an example. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0601202


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Author Biographies

Jonathan Jackson, London School of Economics and Political Science
Jonathan JACKSON is Lecturer in Research Methodology in the Methodology Institute at the LSE. A good proportion of his research centres on developing social-psychological and sociological perspectives on public attitudes to crime, policing and social order.
Nick Allum, University of Surrey
Nick ALLUM is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Surrey. His research interests are in the areas of public understanding of science and the social psychology of risk.
George Gaskell, London School of Economics and Political Science
George GASKELL is Director of the Methodology Institute and Professor of Social Psychology. He is an associate director of BIOS (the Centre for the study of bioscience, biomedicine, biotechnology and society) and CARR (the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation). His research interests include science, technology and society; ethical, legal and social aspects of genomics; risk and trust; economic values; and attitudes, representations and belief systems.
Theorising Risk